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  • Writer's pictureKatie

Kitchen Mini Reno - Cabinet Doors take 2

One Room Challenge - Week 5

For those of you that read last week’s post about Week 4, you know that it was a brutal week of several failed attempts to spray my navy blue cabinet doors. Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I just sprayed another coat on the blue doors and they are SOOOOOOOOO much better than any of the tries before. The bad news is that I had to suffer through 5 more coats of learning before I figured out the trick.

Before I get any farther, please make sure you have checked out Weeks 1-4 so you can see where this kitchen started, the design plan, and where I have gotten thus far! You can check these posts out here! Also, after you are through reading this post, please head over to the One Room Challenge Blog where you can see all of the amazing projects going on around the world. This community of designers, diyers, and creators is nothing short of phenomenal! There is so much awesomeness going on out there! Please check it out!

OK, so a super quick recap from the Week 4 cabinet door debacle. I took all of the cabinet doors that were getting painted Navy down to my mom’s house in Indianapolis as she was going to let me use her garage to spray. We don’t really have the room here plus we have 3 very furry dogs! So I spent 5 days in Indy. I first tried our sprayer that Jeremy sprayed with when he painted the cabinets with oil based paint but I couldn’t even get this gun to stop dripping so I immediately switched to my dad’s Wagner Flexio sprayer with the detail finish tip I purchased for it. I sprayed both coats of primer with this and it worked ok, but it was really heavy in my hand to lean over all of the cabinets and spray them.

I decided to buy the Latex version of my original gun (the original gun, come to find out was only for Oil Based). Jeremy had pretty good luck when he sprayed the cabinets a few years back so I thought it was worth trying. So two coats with Navy paint in the new gun and lumpy + bumpy orange peel was all I got. I sanded everything down and decided to go back to the Wagner but changed around my paint setup to spray one at at time on my sawhorses to get better coverage and make it a little easier on my body. The first coat was so much smoother but had a bunch of air bubbles. I gave a light sand to get rid of the air bubbles and tried again with a little more thinning and I actually got more air bubbles. At this point I was 4 color coats in after spending 5 days in Indy and I needed to get back home. So I packed everything up and headed home.

Which brings us to Week 5. As I told you in Week 4, I went to Indy because I really didn‘t have a place to spray at my house… in other words, Jeremy really didnt want me to find a place to spray at our house. And I got it. When he sprayed our cabinets with oil based paint, we didn‘t do a great job taping anything off since our basement was unfinished at the time and the mist got everywhere. So I understood why he didn’t want that especially now that our basement was finished and we have redone so many parts of our house at this point.

But I brought everything back anyways including my dad’s Wagner sprayer because I had an idea that I just had to sell to Jeremy. When my dad came up a couple of weeks ago to help install the cabinets for the coffee bar, we had some extra time so we also framed out the last portion of the basement that we plan to finish as a bedroom. A 11’x13’ box all framed in. PERFECT SPOT to tape off for a spray room. It was actually a pretty easy sell to Jeremy because he agreed that if I put up plastic, it should be fine. Thank the Lord because I didn’t want to have to drive back down to Indy to try things out again.

So I got to work on making my spray room with thicker 4 mil plastic for the walls and ceiling, and .7 mil thin plastic to cover up the other areas of the adjacent basement storage area, just in case any spray escaped through. Having this cordless Milwaukee M12 crown stapler might have been the best thing ever since I was stapling A LOT of plastic to the new 2x4 walls! Jeremy came down to check it out and called it my “kill“ room and asked if I was going to chop him up Dahmer-style. We had clearly just watched the Jeffrey Dahmer Netflix show. But I definitely had this room locked down so no overspray would get out! It was ready for my next attempt. You can see that I created a mostly enclosed spray area within the spray room to trap most of the over spray in that section and the rest of the area was dedicated to drying doors.

This time, I decided I was going to switch to the white doors since lighter colors tend to hide imperfections a little better. And since I didn‘t totally know what I needed to do to fix the orange peel/bubbling issues yet, I wanted all the help I could get in hiding issues that may arise. So I spent my first evening of the week taking all of the white doors off of the cabinets and wiping them down thoroughly with Krud Kutter. The next day was pretty nice for October in Michigan so I took all of the doors outside to give them a good sand with my Milwaukee M18 cordless sander with 220 grit sandpaper and then primed them by hand to take advantage of the nice weather outside.

Now they were ready for paint. So after the Indy debacle, I did some additional research and also read the Wagner user manual from back to front. What I learned from the research and from the last few times of spraying was that 1. the sprayer had a filter that I didnt know was there and was SUPER clogged 2. to get a super smooth finish, I needed enough paint for it to spread out and lay flat 3. spraying one at a time on sawhorses got a much better finish than trying to do them on the floor.

So I got to spraying the white doors. I mixed with Floetrol and sprayed away. What I continued to see was bubbling, however, it didn’t seem to show up until my third and fourth pass over the doors. If I only went over the doors in 2 directions instead of all 4, I could avoid the bubbling. The issue was that it wasn’t really getting enough paint down to leave a super smooth finish. Now it wasn’t really orange-peel, but still not super smooth either. I decided this may be the best it was going to get. It took me 4 coats to get good coverage with the white. You can also see the progression of my mask/attire as I went through each round of spraying. When I was spraying in Indy, it was in the open and barely got any paint on me or in my nose. Since I made this a really small dedicated spray area, there was a lot of paint and I needed a full mask and a hat to protect my breathing and as much of my hair as I could!

So I jumped back to the blue doors. I decided there was one variable that I hadn’t yet changed. The Floetrol. So my first coat of blue I decided to mix with water instead of the Floetrol. And wouldn’t you know it, I could get the paint as thick as I needed it to be to get smooth without a ton of bubbling. I never thought the Floetrol could be the issue. All of the research I did said how much superior Floetrol was as a mixing agent to water and the sole purpose of this product is to help level the paint. But in this case, just a little water worked better. While I was a little frustrated I didn’t try this sooner, I was happy that I was going in the right direction.

The blue needed 3 coats to cover my sanding marks. But after I did the two coats, I realized a decent amount of debris was getting into the paint, probably because I had sprayed so many times in this room so far. But, I at least knew what needed to be done to wrap up these cabinets. I needed one more coat on the blue doors and planned to lightly sand and spray one more coat on the white doors but this would have to happen next week. The downside to putting such thick coats on the doors is that it takes a full 24 hours to be able to paint again. But look how smooth those doors are compared to last week and the white doors! WOO HOO!

While I waited for doors to dry, in between coats, I focused my attention on the white bases that needed painting. Those took 1 coat of primer and 3 coats of paint with a brush/foam roller combo. I really focused on the edges as those were the areas that got the most wear and tear from pots/pans/silverware/etc banging against them. Painting with 3 furry dogs in the house is always an adventure, especially when you are painting basically on the floor. It doesn’t really matter how many times I vacuum, I am constantly picking dog hairs out of my paint. Its a good thing I really love them!

If you are thinking about painting cabinet doors with a Wagner Sprayer, here are a few things I learned:

- Change the Filter frequently

- Read the entire manual, it actually helps

- Try thinning with water first if you have to thin

- If you are not spraying in an open area like a garage, you will get a layer of paint all over you, protect things like your hair and obviously wear a mask

- If you want it smooth, you need to have a thick enough coat on that it is one solid mass of paint - but you have to let it dry flat or it will likely run (this is only my assumption, I only dried mine flat)

- In my opinion, it is much easier to spray in one place that is higher up like on sawhorses and then carefully move the door to a drying area

So while I didn‘t 100% finish the doors in Week 5, I am SO HAPPY to report that I think I figured out the recipe for success and just need one more spray session per color going into Week 6! But boy do I need to get my butt into gear if I’m going to finish this project in just 3 more weeks! Next up is the new butcher block countertops! Stay tuned for Week 6 and let me know what you think!

Happy designing + DIYing!


Check out Weeks 1-4 here:

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